Travis Lane, founder of The Internet Dispensary and long-time grower, and Courtland Sandover-Sly, a financial and insurance advisor, are directors of the B.C. Independent Cannabis Association. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. marijuana dispensaries form independent group

‘Canada could run out of legal cannabis next July’

Canada is going to run out of legal marijuana soon after recreational sales are legalized next year if it depends only on federally licensed medical growers, say directors of the newly formed B.C. Independent Cannabis Association.

The association released its submission to the B.C. government Friday, as the NDP government consults local governments and the public about the looming federal deadline to legalize retail marijuana sales. It recommends that B.C. “avoid the central warehousing of fresh cannabis” and “make space for private distribution and retail within the legal framework.”

The “best actors from the current illicit industry” should be invited to operate under the new regulations, which B.C. has to have in place by next July 1 to control wholesale distribution and retail sales, says the submission.

After talks with other provinces and the federal government, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said he is leaning towards a combination of provincial control and incorporating some of the locally licensed dispensaries that have popped up in B.C. communities. B.C. is crucial since it produces an estimated 70 per cent of Canada’s cannabis.

Two of the association’s directors spoke to Black Press. Travis Lane, founder of The Internet Dispensary and long-time grower, said B.C.’s “craft cannabis” industry is world renowned, and communities would soon feel the hit if the federal and provincial governments force supply to be centralized in a few industrial operations.

Lane said it’s clear that if underground producers are shut out, “there’s not going to be a gram of legal cannabis left in Canada at the end of July.” He doesn’t expect the home of B.C. Bud to do that. He predicts it will follow the example of VQA wines and B.C. craft breweries in its licensing system.

“I expect the B.C. government to come up with public-private partnership similar to what’s been happening with the loosening of the liquor laws,” Lane said. “I think we’re going to see, where there are cities with a long-standing dispensary economy, those good-acting dispensaries are going to be allowed into the retail marketplace.”

Courtland Sandover-Sly is chairman of the new association. He is a financial advisor and insurance broker for a dozen dispensaries, and says he was the first in North America to arrange a benefits plan for cannabis dispensary employees and management.

“We know that the NDP government here in B.C. appreciates the size of the industry,” Sandover-Sly said, citing a Fraser Institute estimate of a $7 billion value to the economy. “I’m hopeful that they are aware of this and know that not protecting the industry could be devastating, particularly to rural communities.”

Other directors are:

• Alex Robb, general manager of Trees Dispensaries, one of the first to receive a business licence from the City of Victoria

• Jamie Shaw, a government relations specialist who served as a director of the B.C. Compassion Club Society and president of the Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

• Robert Laurie, a lawyer who worked in finance in London and New York before starting a practice focused on the business of cannabis and criminal defence

Just Posted

Fernie Snow Drags; an ongoing tradition

Like wild animals filled with an everlasting rage, sleds flew down the… Continue reading

Shypitka reacts to BC budget

Kootenay East MLA laments increased taxation, spending

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Team USA beats Canada 3-2 on the shootout to take home Olympic gold

Americans win their first gold medal since 1998

Two Haida men detained for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Edenshaw and Frisby travelled from Alaska to Prince Rupert for the All Native Basketball Tournament

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

B.C. teacher suspended over allegedly using N-word in worksheets

Trafalgar Elementary teacher under investigation by Vancouver School Board

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

Most Read